(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Anacostia Business Improvement District (BID), District officials, and other community partners celebrated and unveiled the Anacostia Arts and Culture District in Ward 8. During the event, which included live painting, Go-Go music, and more, the Mayor highlighted an additional $202,000 investment in the Department of Public Works (DPW) MuralsDC program to support the development of more than a dozen new murals and the arts community in Ward 8.
“Historic Anacostia is already a hub for DC culture and creative expression. Now, we’re working with the community to create more spaces and events that uplift local artists and spotlight Ward 8,” said Mayor Bowser. “The Arts and Culture District will be a new destination for residents and visitors – a place for people who want to witness the talent of DC creatives and enjoy DC culture.”
Last year, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) granted the Anacostia BID nearly $4 million to establish the Anacostia Arts and Culture District. The funding is being used for beautification and streetscape enhancements within the Anacostia Arts and Culture District, to support cultural institutions, and to provide programs and initiatives that support local artists by creating platforms that showcase their work.
Over 16 years ago, the MuralsDC program was established to support the creation of local arts and culture in the District. The program was established to combat a growing trend of illegal graffiti in beautiful District corridors. Since the launch, MuralsDC has supported local artists in creating 165 original works of art on public facing buildings and surfaces throughout the District. Typically, the program solicits wall donations year-round and opens a “Call for Artists” each spring. For selected walls, MuralsDC will provide the owner’s input and community feedback to the artist prior to painting the mural. The property owner has final approval on the final wall design. Murals are typically painted between July and September of each year.
MuralsDC gained international stature with the overnight development of the Black Lives Matter Plaza mural in 2020. The mural, which has been replicated across the United States, was developed into a permanent monument that was completed in 2021.
DPW, in partnership with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (CAH), provides MuralsDC with annual funding. To date, approximately $1.5 million has been invested into the MuralsDC program. Today’s announcement highlighted a partnership between DMPED and MuralsDC to provide an additional $202,000 to support projects exclusively in Ward 8.
“The investments we are making in the Anacostia Arts and Culture District will enhance the vibrancy of the neighborhood and drive tourism to Ward 8,” said John Falcicchio, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. “While our investment supports local artists, it also supports residents who will be able to derive employment opportunities from having more tourism and more events taking place East of the River.”
MuralsDC will work closely with the Anacostia BID and other partners throughout the spring to identify mural locations and artists. To learn more, visit muralsdcproject.com.
“We’re so excited that the official arts and culture district for Washington, DC is established in Anacostia,” said Kristina Noell, Executive Director of the Anacostia BID. “We look forward to continuing our work with MuralsDC to create more original works of art in this community.”
During the event, the Mayor and officials unveiled the new logo for the Anacostia Arts and Culture District and participated in a live painting. In addition, LED screens projected murals from around the city which showcase Black history in DC.
“DPW is proud to be able to contribute to DC’s landscape in so many ways,” said DPW Acting Director Timothy Spriggs. “We’re particularly proud of the impact our MuralsDC program has had on the District, and want to thank DMPED for giving us the opportunity to be a part of the arts renaissance occurring in the Anacostia community.”
During the event, the Mayor also announced two upcoming opportunities for the District to work with local artists – Emancipation Day Parade at Freedom Plaza on Saturday, April 15 and Art All Night which will take place on Friday, September 29 and Saturday, September 30.